The first Dr Vishnu Shridhar Wakankar National Award of Madhya Pradesh State Government was presented to the celebrated archaeologist Dr S.P. Gupta in recognition of his devotion and contribution to archaeological research. Former Deputy Prime Minister Shri Lal Krishna Advani presented the award, a cheque of Rs one lakh, a shawl and a citation to Dr S.P. Gupta at a simple and glorious function. Wife of the late Dr Wakankar, Smt Laxmi Wakankar, who was specially present on the occasion, was also honoured. The Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh Shri Shivraj Singh Chouhan announced to establish an archaeological research institute at Bhopal in memory of Dr V.S. Wakankar.
Delivering the key-note address on the occasion, former Union Minister for Human Resource Development Dr Murli Manohar Joshi said the archaeological excavations have amply proved that India has always been an integrated civilisation with its original culture and traditions. The much-propagated theory of Aryan invasion has been proved baseless as genetic science has proved that there is no difference in lineage of the north and south Indians. The Aryans originally belonged to India. He said the theory of Aryan invasion has led to divisions of Indian society. He stated that ill-attempts have also been made frequently to disintegrate India as a nation by describing the epics Ramayana and Mahabharata as imaginary. The fact is that the Mahabharata clearly mentions that Dwarika submerged in the ocean. Thanks to the marine archaeology and research projects, which inform that the remains of an Indian township are laying deep in the ocean.
Dr Joshi warned that viewing the history from Western outlook is not in the interest of nation. India'scivilisation and history are known for their originality. The cultural traditions of India have been existing for centuries and still continue. Referring to some archaeological findings, Dr Joshi said some traditions like applying vermilion by Indian women and wearing necklace or ornaments still continue. He called upon students to nourish an aptitude for research and come forward to dispel ill-conceived perceptions from Indian history. He said the syllabi should also be reformed including the chapters that encourage researches. Referring to the Saraswati Project, he said the disappeared Saraswati still exist deep and further research in this regard must go on.
Former Deputy Prime Minster Shri Lal Krishna Advani said the state government must take an initiative to retrieve the idol of Goddess Saraswati once enshrined in the historical Bhojshala of Dhar from Britain. The Centre would also be urged to take an initiative in this regard. Recalling the contributions of the late Dr Wakankar, he said the award in his memory has been given to a true inheritor who has devoted all his life to archaeological research and studies.
Dr S.P. Gupta, in response to his honour, informed that genetic science has proved that Indians are one and members of one civilisation. He observed that Madhya Pradesh is rich in archaeological wealth. Stressing the need for promoting archaeological researches, he said the archaeological richness says the Indus Valley civilisation should be called Saraswati-Indus Valley civilisation. He informed that the aquifer of Saraswati river is still alive 200 feet below and could be revived. He announced to donate the cash award of Rs one lakh to Pune-based Indian Society of Pre-Historic Studies.
The Chief Minister Shri Chouhan said the state government would provide land for Dr Wakankar Memorial Archaeological Research Institute. Describing the late Dr Wakankar as a personality devoted to knowledge, he pointed out that the state government is taking an initiative to keep alive the memory of great personalities who had contributed in making of Madhya Pradesh. He reiterated the state government'scommitment to preserving the archeological wealth, which reflects state'scultural richness.
Minister for Culture Shri Laxmikant Sharma listed the achievements of the Culture Department. Informing that the popularity of culture programmes has crossed the geographical boundaries, he said the Chandra Shekhar Azad birth-centenary celebrations are going on. He presented sets of publications by the culture and archaeological departments and mementos to the guests. Commissioner Archaeology Shri Pankaj Rag read out the citation for Dr S.P. Gupta. Shri Advani released a special issue of archaeology department'smagazine Puratan. Those present included Member of Parliament Shri Kailash Joshi, Shri Laxminarayan Sharma, Minister for Public Relations, Shri Narendra Singh Tomar, Shri Kailash Vijayvargiya and distinguished citizens. (FOC)